Carbon Monoxide Leak Raises Concern in Texas Elementary School


Students at an elementary school in Texas are back to school three days after the school was evacuated for high levels of carbon monoxide, but parents are still uneasy about their children's safety.

According to spokesman Andre Riley, a staff member at Lakewood Elementary went from room to room asking if the students felt okay the day the school re-opened. Thirty students said they felt ill and were sent to the nurse. Of those students, 8 were sent home. The district's director of health services was on campus for the day as well.

Parents at the school said they were frustrated by the issue, while others said they were happy that spring break was coming up. Several parents reported their children had headaches or were vomiting the day before the school was evacuated.

"It is nice to have week off and kind of relax a little bit, but obviously there will be some concern coming back when we start a week from Monday," said parent Jeremy Clark.

School officials said 911 was called after the gas was discovered, and police and emergency operations were sent to the school. In the meantime, over 800 students and staff members were evacuated from the premises and sent to Lake Hill Preparatory Academy nearby.

Dallas-Fire Rescue announced the elevated carbon monoxide levels over social media that morning, and later said the source of the gas was a leak in the furnace located in the basement. Atmos Energy was then called in to fix the leak.

"In that particular room where the boiler is located, those carbon monoxide levels are rising when the boiler is active," Dallas Independent School District spokesman André Riley said.

Although the school did not have any reports of children becoming sick the day prior to the evacuation, there is an investigation into the issue. The reason behind the initial investigation concerning the gas has not been released.

Friends of Lakewood recently received a donation of 70 carbon monoxide detectors, which parents volunteered to bring to schools and install them in classrooms, writes Julie Fine for NBC 5.

The Dallas Independent School Board held a meeting the night before school re-opened. The meeting was attended by about 50 parents in hopes of getting trustees to make repairs to the school, that they feel are very needed.

"We are well aware that this week's carbon monoxide problem was not just a fluke, but an example of any number of safety issues that are bound to occur at Lakewood," parent Dorcy Clark told board members.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can bring on sudden illness or even death. Headaches and vomiting are early warning signs. Those suffering from either should find fresh air and the care of a doctor.

03 11, 2015
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